Insight. Antics.

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Promote ‘N Vote.

In Politics, Television on December 23, 2011 at 9:28 am

This Republican primary season has had over a dozen debates. You might be thinking, “That’s quite enough.” After all, voting starts in less than two weeks, in Iowa. Well, guess what, caballeros, depending on the list you look at, we just barely passed the halfway point of these rhetorical slugfests. ¡Que sorpresa!

Despite the onslaught of translucent podiums and ever-inventive, nearly exhausted ways in which production designers have toiled to erect a new interpretation of the stars and stripes on stage, we’re just. Not. Done.

In acknowledgement of the strong viewership they have attracted, the widening array of issues being discussed, and the rife cross-promotional synergies, may I present the remaining calendar:

VH1’s Divas Live! Debate

January 7, 2012

Hollis, NH

In this penultimate debate before the New Hampshire primary, the GOP candidates reiterate that strong, confident, independent women do not have a right to choose. Michele Bachmann deftly parlays one of her answers into an on-key verse from “I’m Every Woman.” To compensate, the men spout off about their wives, while claiming they clearly came out ahead of everyone else in the Iowa caucuses, even though they all basically ended up coming in a tie there. Read the rest of this entry »

All Guts, No Glory.

In Television on December 13, 2011 at 4:36 pm

This is ostensibly a blog about media and politics, but it gets pulled in the political direction a bit more often. I think that’s because the daily developments of that world feel more consequential (even if that is illusory) and spark a more pointed and immediate reaction.

However, as a voracious follower of television, and occasionally gracious sharer of the remote control, I have plenty to say on the topic. So, when I read that NBC was bringing back Fear Factor, I cringed. And upon seeing an ad for it in which it appears men and women are bobbing for apples in a pool of blood, I also reacquainted with my gag reflex. Indeed, LA Times, indeed: “Horse rectum for everyone!”

We know you’re struggling, NBC, but this smacks of desperation. What happened to the NBC execs of a few years ago who were lamenting their network being reduced to showing frat guys eating bugs in primetime in the mid-aughts? I don’t know if it’s a result of their new Comcast overlords, but this is a step backwards over a lesson it seemed was already learned.

When a viewer files a lawsuit (eventually dismissed) saying your show made him vomit prolific piles of protein, what makes you sit down with your team and say, “I think we had something here. Let’s bring it back.”

Variety reports (subscription required) that Fear Factor re-opened well. In the ratings on Monday night it was seventh overall, with 8.5 million viewers, and fourth in the 18-49 demographic. (To put that another way, 8.5 million people watched five scorpions get eaten alive by some girl. Despair.)

Read the rest of this entry »